Mortimer Shotgun Broken Down
This Mortimer shotgun was manufactured in Edinburgh, Scotland and left to me by my father. I have no knowledge of its history previous to his ownership of it. It is a side by side (double barrel) shotgun. The firing mechanism is “pin strike” meaning that the cartridges (brass) had a firing pin protruding from the primer in the cartridge up through the tiny holes in the breech end of the barrel. When the hammer fell on the pin the primer was ignited, igniting the powder, which fired the bullet.
Pinholes & Hammers
Thomas Mortimer was the scion of a famed London gun-making family, H & T Mortimer, established in 1755 in Fleet Street. In 1835 Thomas came to Edinburgh to set up in Princes Street. In 1938 the business merged with John Dickson.
The pin fire shotgun was invented in 1828 and had a short life span. Its use was declining by 1860, being quickly replaced by guns using center fire cartridges.
Shown below are the proof stamps on the gun. They are Birmingham stamps which would have been legally used throughout the United Kingdom, including Scotland. It is not unusual that Mortimer, originally located in London, would have used these stamps while working in Scotland.
Terry at Freestate Gun Range prefers a date close to 1868 because of the rapid decline of the pin fire shotgun after 1860.
In perfect condition it would have a value of $15,000.00 today, July 29, 2011. However the stock is broken and the forearm is missing. The forearm would be a wooden extension under the barrel to protect the shooters supporting hand. The action; however is in perfect condition, the stamps are clear and it is a rare piece. It’s value is in its antiquity. It should be wiped with light oil (WD-40) as needed (perhaps annually). Any efforts to restore or repair it would decrease, rather than increase, its value.
Charles Carter Glass
July 29, 2011